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Citing Sources: APA

Citation styles and tools for citing sources/managing citations

Style by Discipline

APA style is usually used in Social Sciences and Psychology and is an author-date system. APA stands for the American Psychological Association.

Key Characteristics

Big Picture

APA style features in-text parenthetical citations, with a focus on author/date, and a corresponding Reference page.

In-Text Citations

  • elements include author's last name, year of publication and page number(s)
  • elements in are separated by commas - Example:  (Arnold, 2015, p. 378)
  • a direct quote requires a page number preceded by p. - Example: ... as the "individuals pronounced vocally and fearlessly" (Smith, 2016, p. 201)
  • page numbers are still encouraged for summary and paraphrase though not necessary - Example: (Goriava & Woodland, 2017)
  • author's name may be excluded if found in the introductory text - Example: Patel (2013) found that .... " " (p. 67)
  • p. used for page; pp. used for multiple pages - Example: (Ramble, 2014, pp. 45-49)
  • works by two authors use the ampersand in the parentheses - Example: (Goriava & Woodland, 2017)

In-Text Citations: The Basics (OWL Purdue)
In-Text Citations: Author/Authors (OWL Purdue)
When and How to Include Page Numbers in APA Style Citations (APA Blog)
Citing References in Text (Basics of APA Style Tutorial)

Reference List ...

  • has the title of References, centered at top
  • includes hanging indents after the first line for each entry
  • is organized alphabetically by the last name of the first author
  • gives initials to first names of authors
  • italicizes book and journal titles
  • capitalizes the first word and the first word after a semi-colon of a journal article title
  • capitalizes all major words in journal titles
  • common elements & order of citation elements:

Reference List: Basic Rules (OWL Purdue)
Reference List: Author/Authors (OWL Purdue)